In this edition
Scheduled executions: More than a year after receiving a stay based on the pandemic, John Hummel again faces execution by the State of Texas
In case you missed it: Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denies new punishment trial to Terence Andrus despite abysmal legal representation; bilingual panel discussion features César Fierro, who survived four decades on death row
Featured events: Register for our next webinar – What happened in the 87th Texas Legislature? Tuesday, June 15, 2021 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM Central Time; join the TCADP Book Group in reading River of Fire by Sister Helen Prejean
Quote of the month
“If journalists were excluded because of a simple oversight, we are left wondering whether the public should trust the officials involved to carry out such a grave process? And if journalists were intentionally excluded, we should all question whether we should continue to trust them with power over life and death?”
– The Huntsville Item, “OUR VIEW: Texas prison officials failed the public when they left journalists behind during Jones’ execution”, May 21, 2021
The State of Texas is scheduled to execute John Hummel on June 30, 2021. Ten years ago, he was convicted of killing his wife, Joy Hummel, and his father-in-law, Clyde Bedford. Hummel, who is an honorably discharged Marine, had no history of violence prior to the terrible night of December 17, 2009. His behavior in jail and prison since the time of his arrest undermines the jury’s determination of his “future dangerousness.”
Hummel faced execution on March 18, 2020 but received a stay from the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals due to the pandemic.
If his execution proceeds, Hummel will be the second person put to death by the State of Texas this year. Like Quintin Jones, who was executed on May 19, 2021, Hummel was convicted in Tarrant County, where prosecutors continue to pursue death sentences and executions at a time when most other jurisdictions are moving in the opposite direction.
While there is no specific call to action for Hummel at this time, we encourage you to contact the Governor’s office to express your opposition to the continued use of the death penalty in Texas. Including Hummel, there are four people with execution dates. To date in 2021, only Texas and the federal government have carried out executions and Texas is the only state with multiple executions scheduled.
In case you missed it
Texas court denies relief to Terence Andrus despite “tidal wave of mitigating evidence” cited by U.S. Supreme Court
On May 19, 2021, the same day the State of Texas executed Quintin Jones, a slim majority of judges on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals (CCA) refused to grant a new punishment trial to Terence Tremaine Andrus. Andrus was convicted and sentenced to death in Fort Bend County in 2012. Like Jones, he was 20 years old at the time of the crime. The U.S. Supreme Court had ordered the CCA to reconsider an earlier ruling in which the state court had denied Andrus relief even though his trial attorney conducted virtually no investigation into the vast and readily available evidence of Andrus’s troubled upbringing and long history of unresolved mental health issues. Learn more about Andrus and read a statement by his attorney in response to the CCA’s 5-4 opinion.
César Fierro, who spent 40 years on Texas’s death row, joins panel discussion
On May 12, 2021, TCADP, Witness to Innocence and EPF Media hosted a special panel discussion related to the documentary film, “The Years of Fierro,” and the case of César Fierro, who spent four decades on Texas’s death row before he was paroled last year. Throughout his ordeal, César has maintained his innocence of the crime for which he was convicted in El Paso in 1980. The panel was conducted in English and Spanish and featured the filmmaker, Santiago Esteinou, two of César’s attorneys, Sandra Babcock and Dick Burr, and César himself. It was moderated by Professor Ana Otero, the President of the TCADP Board of Directors. Watch and share the recording.
TCADP Webinar Series: Seeking Justice in Texas
The regular session of the 87th Texas Legislature concluded May 31, 2021. For the second consecutive session, abolition bills were not granted a committee hearing in either chamber, despite support from multiple cosponsors. Although bills that address serious flaws in the Texas death penalty system were listed among the House’s bipartisan criminal justice reform priorities and passed that chamber with overwhelming support, they did not advance in the Senate.
Learn more about the recent legislative session and what comes next during our monthly webinar, which will take place on Zoom on Tuesday, June 15, 2021 from 12:00 to 1:00 PM Central Time. Register here.
TCADP Book Group
The TCADP Book Group meets every six weeks on Zoom and reads a mix of fiction, non-fiction, and memoirs. When possible, we invite the authors to join us. Our next book selection is River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey by Sister Helen Prejean. We will discuss this book on Wednesday, July 7, 2021 at 7:30 PM Central Time. Register here. You will receive a link for the Zoom meeting that morning.